Convince me I need a straight key.

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by W4WVW, May 24, 2020.

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  1. W4WVW

    W4WVW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have not used a straight key since I was a novice in the 60s. I use a BY-1 and keyer these days but I'm thinking of going SK for portable use and just plain fun. I'm open for suggestions but I would like to keep any contenders under $50 if that's reasonable so no Vibroplex or the like. Come twist my arm! :D
  2. AA0RI

    AA0RI Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    1. Nostalgia, 2. You haven't had a sore wrist in a long time and miss it, 3. You can Join SKCC and rack up the contact points!
    WN1MB, NE1U, K6MAA and 4 others like this.
  3. K5UNX

    K5UNX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I took CW Ops classes, 1 & 2 before their re-org, and thought I didn't need a straight key. But I won one in a club raffle, cleaned it up, and mounted it on a board and finally made a contact with it. I also joined SKCC and my plan is to participate in their activities so I can get better at working CW. I why not have a key along with paddles? I also figured out how to connect the to the radio at the same time so I can use whatever I want.
  4. W4WVW

    W4WVW Ham Member QRZ Page

  5. W5WTH

    W5WTH Ham Member QRZ Page

    You kinda mentioned it in your post:
    It's just fun and a different skill. I like SKCC so I tend to like straight keys. The investment is so minimal that even if you decided you hated straight keys your out almost nothing. I like my Viking better, but for the price US Morse 3D Printed keys work well for me.
    WN1MB likes this.
  6. K7KBN

    K7KBN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Try every straight key you can literally get your hands on. See how each one feels. Forget about what it looks like; the guy on the other end can't see what you're sending with. I started with a plain jane key and just used it. Don't know what its pedigree is or was, but I passed my 20 WPM Extra test with it. In the Navy the keys were built-in to the local operating positions. Excellent straight keys that one could adjust perfectly in a matter of seconds. These keys also had a jack for plugging in a bug, IF you had been certified to use one.
  7. M6GYU

    M6GYU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Morse sent by a straight key has personality. Morse sent with a paddle sounds like everyone else's.

    If you do get a straight key, don't be beguiled by exotic names and shiny finish. On my QRZ page there are 3 keys I use, non of which cost me more than £40 and were purchased off E-bay. All are just as good as benchers, Begali's and various other £100 + keys I've tried. But they aren't as shiny. NB. All that glitters is not gold. :)
    WD4IGX, W9RAC and 2E0OZI like this.
  8. KI7RS

    KI7RS Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's not true! mine sucks either way LOL!
    Be careful with the plastic on that key. If it's PLA plastic, you will find a puddle if you leave it out in the heat. Looks like they have outdoor versions.

    I got one of these, and I kind of like it. Not something you wanna rag chew with, but it's good for the price.

    I also got one of these, and I've been using it a lot lately. I like it.
    M6GYU likes this.
  9. KO4LZ

    KO4LZ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I feel guilty using a paddle between 7.050 and 7.060 -- almost wall-to-wall SKCC ops.

    Actually, I find I get more responses to my CQs if I use a straight key in that frequency range as well .... :)
    W9RAC and W5WTH like this.
  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I won't try to convince you.

    I operate CW more than any other mode and typically make 50-100 CW QSOs a week during normal (non-contest) times and don't even own a straight key. I sold my last straight key, a Nye Viking, via the ads here on about ten years ago. I don't miss it since I hadn't used it in a very long time.

    I use paddles/keyers most of the time but do have an old Vibroplex Blue Racer which I bought new in about 1967 and it still looks new and works as new, but like all bugs, goes out of adjustment and requires tightening the thumbwheels after much use. I use the bug for SKN and occasionally for special old-tyme operations but much prefer the keyer/paddles, especially since my paddles never go out of adjustment and with my Benchers, last time I adjusted them was >20 years ago. Using them every day, nothing changes.:)

    If I had a beautiful hand key collection, I might display them to look at them but I wouldn't use any of them.:p

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